Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Letter to Ryland on His 2nd Birthday

Dear Ryland,

Happy birthday! I hope you had a great day. I sure did enjoy celebrating it with you. It's hard to believe that two whole years have passed. In fact I looked down at my stomach today and remembered a special moment you and I had together a couple of years ago...

I snapped this one last photo of you in my tummy and tried hard to remember everything about the moment...the pure magic of feeling your little self move inside of me already full of spunk. I tried to picture what you would look like when you emerged, what you would look like as a boy. I even tried to imagine you as the wonderful man I know you're on you're way to becoming.

And today. I had a different sort of bracelet on my arm but it was for you, too. (And, hey, thank goodness I got a new outfit, huh?)

But it made me think back to your first breath when the doctor held you up for me to see.

And then when she placed you on my chest...

You were perfect and I loved you. I thanked God for you, for answering my prayer and sending you to be mine for a little while. I know it won't be long that you won't even fit in my arms because you're already so big! Today you wore a pull-up out and are doing such a great job potty training. Today you asked for Sprite at the restaurant and told the waitress, "Bye, Sweetie!" when she told you. Today you wouldn't ride in the buggy at the store but said, "I wanta walk." Today when Jathan asked you what you wanted for your birthday you said, "I want Mama," and, baby, you've got me. For now and for always.

Yes, today we took you out for a fabulous New Orleans birthday lunch.

You helped me eat my gumbo. Boy, do you love shrimp!

Our waitress really took up with you. She found out it was your birthday and brought you out some delicious bread pudding and sang to you, placing a ring of beads around your neck.

After you filled up on our beloved Nawlins food, we went to one of your favorite places.

You showed off your big boy bouncing skills and ran to and fro having an absolute blast!

After a while you guys got worn out so you chose a snack at the snack bar (cookies, of course!).

And that's when I sat down on the couch beside you watching your feed your own little self (and squirt your juice box everywhere) and thought back to that time in the hospital two years ago. You know what? You turned out to be even better than I imagined.

When we got home, you opened your presents but not before a quick picture. I'm pretty sure you were getting tired of all the picture-taking by then because you get blinking and saying, "LIGHT!" = )

One of your gifts was some Thomas the Tank Engine (this is the year of the choo choo for you) dinnerware which you then ate your supper off of. (More with the flashing.)

During supper you were such a big boy that you helped feed Piper. You got her to finish her food when she was totally through with Mama feeding her although I suspect you might have helped her empty her bowl in more ways than one.

Then after supper it was cake time! Since you love Cajun treats so much we got you a king cake. You quickly set to sneaking licks of the icing.

We sang Happy Birthday (you sang along, " TO YOU!")...

And then you dug in!

When you'd had your fill of icing cake, we all gathered around the TV to watch one of your presents, Finding Nemo. You sat beside me on the couch, bottomless with sprinkles stuck all over your shirt, and I attempted to mentally freeze time again. It didn't work but I held onto it so tightly that I did manage to leave an impression of it right there on my heart.

Thank you for a wonderful day, Ryland. Thank you for an exciting two years chock full of memories. Thank you for finally saying Mama instead of Dada all the time. Thank you for challenging me to be a better person: more patient, kinder, willing to slow down and say, "Yes." (Often, yes, let's make a mess.) Thank you for being you! May I always treasure who you are and whatever that brings, messes and all.

I love you,


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